Earlier this week, Seattle-based e-commerce giant (and short-lived physical retailer) Amazon announced that it would invest more than $124 million in four affordable housing developments to be built near or directly adjacent to regional transit hubs on both coasts.
Two of the developments will be in Amazon’s own backyard in King County, Washington, and the other two will be realized in a Washington, D.C.-adjacent stretch of Maryland not too far from the company’s future HQ2 campus in Arlington, Virginia. Amazon will work alongside the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) in both respective areas to complete the developments, which are set to collectively yield roughly 1,060 new affordable homes.
Specifically, the two Seattle-area developments will be built in the cities of SeaTac and Bellevue, which are south and east of Seattle, respectively. Amazon, which is headquartered in and around downtown Seattle and the city’s South Lake Union neighborhood, is significantly expanding its presence in Bellevue, a bustling edge city located directly across Lake Washington from Seattle.
In Maryland, the two developments will be in the cities of New Carrollton and College Park, both in Prince George’s County.
All four projects are being developed as part of Amazon’s $300 million commitment to support, in partnership with regional transit authorities, a total of 3,000 affordable homes within both regions as part of its larger $2 billion Housing Equity Fund, which was first announced in January of last year. Although not part of the just-announced round of investments, Amazon has also pledged to invest in affordable housing within major public transit corridors in the Nashville region. In total, Amazon has committed to creating and preserving more than 20,000 affordable housing units through its Housing Equity Fund and has invested $1.2 million for 8,000 homes thus far.
Earlier this year, the company announced it would commit $28.5 in grants and low-rate loans to generate and preserve affordable housing at developments across the Puget Sound region in cities including Bellevue, Everett, Shoreline, Kent, Des Moines, and Federal Way.
“The Amazon Housing Equity Fund is tackling the affordable housing crisis on multiple fronts and through innovative solutions, such as teaming up with public transit authorities, which brings people closer to more opportunities, services, and a better quality of life,” said Catherine Buell, director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, in a press statement. “We know that our investment in these areas brings many economic opportunities for residents in the region, but we also acknowledge that this growth needs to benefit everyone in the community. The progress we have made in our first year is promising, but we have more to do.”
All 8,000 homes developed through the Amazon Housing Equity fund will be earmarked for households earning between 30 and 80 percent of the area median income in each region. Rents, as detailed in the company’s press release, “will be maintained at levels affordable for low- and moderate-income families […] and will only rise with wage growth as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.” All units developed in the three targeted metro regions—Seattle, D.C./Arlington, and Nashville—will be within 10-minute walking distance to a major transit hub.
Below is a breakdown of the four just-announced developments in the Seattle and D.C./Arlington metro areas:
Angle Lake Station, SeaTac: A minimum of 85 newly constructed affordable apartments near the existing Angle Lake Link light rail station in SeaTac; developed in partnership with Sound Transit and Mercy Housing Northwest. Amazon’s investment is $16.7 million.
Spring District/120th Station, Bellevue: 233 newly constructed affordable apartments near the future Spring District/120th Link light rail station scheduled to open in 2023 as part of Sound Transit’s East Link Extension; developed in partnership with Sound Transit and BRIDGE Housing. Amazon’s investment is $25.8 million.
The Margaux at the New Carrollton Metro Station: 291 newly constructed apartments with guaranteed affordability for 98 years adjacent to the New Carrollton Metro Station; developed in partnership with Metro and Urban Atlantic. Amazon’s investment is $25.4 million.
Atworth at the College Park Metro Station: 451 newly constructed apartments with guaranteed affordability for 98 years adjacent to the College Park Metro Station; developed in partnership with Metro and Gilbane Development Company. Amazon’s investment is $56.3 million.
More information on each of the four developments can be found here.